I remember once that Daughter was going out on a date with some guy (whom we hadn’t met), and of course we insisted on meeting him. (I should point out that we told her this a few days before the date, so there’s no excuse for what follows.)

So Date Day comes, the doorbell rings, and Daughter answers the door. Whereupon I hear some furious whispering from her — furious in that I could hear it from down the hall:
“You can’t show up to take me out dressed like that!”
“Why not?”
“I told you my parents are conservative!”
“I’m dressed okay.”
“No, you’re not — Jesus, they’re going to kill you! You have to go back home and change into something nicer! Go, go!” and I heard the door closing.

Of course, I got up and raced over to the library window to see what the kid was dressed like, to Daughter’s extreme embarrassment.

Let’s just say that he looked as though he’d just come from a beach party by way of working on his friend’s car, with dirty cutoff jeans, a ragged tee shirt, and flip-flops. No wonder Daughter had been appalled. And when I asked her, she said that she’d just used us as the excuse: she didn’t want to go out with him dressed like that. Good for her, but that’s not the point. Daughter had told young Slobbo, frequently, that her parents were conservative; so his appearance as a slob on that day was one of two attitudes (or both): “Screw your old-fart parents!” or “Your opinion doesn’t matter: I’ll dress the way I want.” (I should point out that a week later, he was gone from Daughter’s life. After she discovered that he already had a steady girlfriend at university in Houston.)

I don’t know when or how it became acceptable for women to dress up for dates, while their boyfriends think it’s okay to look as though they’ve just come from a beach party by way of working on their friend’s car, with dirty cutoff jeans, a ragged tee shirt, and flip-flops. I don’t even know why young women today put up with it, because at the heart of the matter, if the guy doesn’t care what he looks like when he’s out with her, I can’t help thinking that he doesn’t care what she thinks — surely, no woman would be proud to introduce Skid Row Simon as her boyfriend when he looks like, well, Skid Row Simon.

As with all things, allow me to illustrate with pitchurs. In each case, the girls are dressed exquisitely, while their dates… oy vey.

I should point out that in each case, the men are apparently no longer their boyfriends.

But my question is: what possesses women to answer the door to such slobs, and not say, “I’m not going out with you if you’re going to be dressed like that!” I can understand that less-attractive women may not have the luxury of turning down a date, any date; but the the two above could surely have said something. (For all the invective that Paris Hilton gets — mostly from envious people — you can’t deny that she’s always exquisitely dressed. And she can pick and choose her dates with aplomb, so why this?) And they’re not stupid young girls anymore, either: Paris was in her late twenties or early thirties, I think, when the above pic was taken.

At the heart of the matter is this: dressing like a slob when you go out by yourself is just being a slob, and while I disapprove, I don’t care too much because I have better things to rant about. But to show up for a date dressed like a fucking tramp shows profound disrespect for your partner — like she doesn’t matter — and that I cannot let go by without comment.

Young men need to get their shit together. What was a “statement” during the Dirty-Hippie Era (I was there, I know all about it) is no longer that statement; instead, the statement is: “I’m a tool and an asshole.”

And shame on women who enable this trend, too. I promise you this: if he doesn’t care how he looks to you, you don’t matter to him other than as a cock holster. Raise your standards, FFS, or you’re going to get treated like shit by men for your whole life.

Here’s one last pic to demonstrate the point: on the left, Don Draper and on the right, Jon Hamm. Same guy, different clothes.

If given the choice, a woman would prefer to go out on a date with the guy on the right (and it’s not a beach party), there’s something wrong with her.

For those men who want to update their look by going retro, start here.


  1. I’ve always thought the mark of a gentleman was to be appropriate in any situation in which he finds himself. Beach party? Sure, shorts/swimsuit, tank-top and flip-flops. Going to a sports bar to cheer your team on? Jeans and team-logo shirt. Nice restaurant? At the very least dress slacks, dress shoes and an open-necked shirt or nice sweater (depending on season), if not a jacket and tie.

    Oh, my personal pet peeve is men wearing hats/caps while they’re eating (I make exceptions for eating outdoors, or if the eating isn’t done at a table, i.e. eating a hot dog at a baseball game). One Thanksgiving (which Mrs D and I host) I had to tell my nephew AND his father (wife’s brother) to remove their ball-caps at the table. Hey, my house, my rules.

  2. Oh by the way Kim, if you’re going to give us pictures from Mad Men, you really ought to include some of Christina Hendricks (I don’t mind if you go off-topic). Beautiful, curvy, and a red-head, seems like she’d be right up your alley.

    1. Christina Hendricks pics? Yes, please.
      In the case of Ms. Carey’s boytoy up there, he’s about half her age in addition to being slobbo. At least his jeans don’t have holes in them.

          1. I often look like a cat dragged me in. On the other hand, there are some mitigating factors. I seem to be one of the few white American males past the age of 50 who, has a hard manual labor job, and gets dirty at work. After a hard day of work I am beat, and there is no way I am going to take an hour to go get a shower and change before going out to buy parts, or go to the food store, etc. Now a date, that is different, but there have been many times my wife and I have gone to the corner store to get a beer and a sandwich for for dinner, still dressed in our work clothes. Fatigue will do that.
            I suspect the secret of the men in the photo’s is simple- they have money, or fame, or both.
            The really funny thing is they have probably never had a hard manual labor job , yet the clothing they wear is to emulate the look of those who do bust ass all day. And it is not neglect, they chose those clothes as carefully as the woman chose hers.
            Go figure.

        1. Well, maybe. I actually prefer her look in Firefly.

          How do we add pictures to these comments? I have one that will prove my point.

  3. When my Mother and Father started dating around 1947, she took issue (quite properly) with a different aspect of his approach. After the first couple of dates, she told him he could no longer show up in front of the house in his ’39 Buick barge and beep the horn for her to come out. He must come inside and meet my grandparents. This backfired on her the first time. My Dad and my maternal Grandfather got on so well that they forgot about my Mom and never did go on a date that night.


  4. I resolved a few years ago to never wear anything that would look out of place in 1957. It has served me well so far.

    About 10 years ago, (which would put me at 30) I had a 20ish cousin ask my brother, “does your brother ever just wear a T-shirt and shorts?” He actually had a better answer than I would have — “Sure… if he’s somewhere that anything else would be inappropriate.”


  5. I am a guy who owns more pairs of slacks than jeans and more suits than shorts and I try to dress appropriate for where I am going (which since I work in an office, is mostly slacks and a button up shirt with steel toe dress shoes – because I am also an engineer). That said, if I am just around the house, I dress like a hobo.

    However, relative to the pictures you show of the couples above. Where are they going? I they are going out for dinner in a nice restaurant then the guys are clearly under dressed, but are they? If they are just heading over to a friend’s house to hang out or one of their other places to watch TV (or many other possibilities) then the guys are dress just fine and the gals are over dressed (which is possibly fine too).

    It is relative.

  6. Oh- one other sartorial comment-
    The one thing that indicates a non serious person?
    Flip flops. Man, woman, flip flops out in public, anywhere but on a beach.

  7. I generally dress in the costume of my people- the t-shirt and shorts of the native Floridian.
    And since we are so overpopulated with retirees and tourists, Mr. Hamm in the photo on the right looks like he’s wearing business formal.

    1. Yeah, my daily work dress for IT in Boca Raton is PF Flyer sneakers, Texas concealed carry jeans and a Guayabera shirt. If it’s below fifty, I’ll get out a flannel Hawaiian shirt.

      I’m a geezer and have no interest in dating any more so that’s not part of the dress equation for me.

  8. Old friend and long time blogger the Gunslinger once said that a man in a suit is to women what a woman in lingerie is to men. She’s old school, also.

  9. I was just talking to my fiancee about this last night. She and I had gone out for a nice dinner at Olive Garden (she loves the chocolate almond amores & we both really the the five cheese fonduta, don’t judge. 🙂 ). She was in a nice dress and I had a dress shift with a jacket. Both hostesses and the waitress complimented us on how we both look. And saw 2 other guys wearing a baseball cap while eating. Hate that crap, wearing covers indoors.

    Then she told me about the time she and her friend went to the symphony (Rachmaninoff’s #9), and there was at least 2 guys, (using the term loosely), wearing saggy pants low enough to see butt crack She was so pissed about that. She also saw other men in white tie and tails, that kind of symphony.

  10. Hmpfffff.

    I might disagree.

    For me the statement is the same as it was for the Dirty Hippies – and in my life, and my experience – the worst assholes were always the best dressed. Their tailored suits did not change the fact that they were assholes. The men in my life that put on suits and dressed to impress – often put on phoney airs to try and intimidate me too. It didn’t work that well for them generally – I saw them for the fops they were.

    Having said that, I will get positively tongue tied and go dippy around well dressed women.

  11. I certainly agree with your perspective on the disrespect.
    Personally, I have worn nothing but dark jeans, black t-shirts, and black cover shirts for the last 2 years, 2 months, and 29 days. That’s how long it’s been since my love and soulmate of 34 years passed away. One of my ways of mourning, I guess. (Also a black 10mm on my hip, but that’s been there much longer)
    Of course, being retired, and fairly close to your age, I don’t go anywhere that requires anything else.
    I do have other clothes if needed. Three funerals in that time period required my dark gray suit with black dress shirt and dark gray tie.
    So I can and will dress appropriately if required. But all I do is necessary shopping, take my daughter to dr appointments, visit family, and work to prepare for sale a house I’ve been in for 20 years that I no longer need.
    So I dress how I will and don’t think about it.

    Being a New Reader(followed a link from Claire’s), you see why much of your writing resonates with me.
    I’m glad I found the place.

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Chad, and I like your choice of day wear. I lost the love of my life 1199 days ago. It gets easier to bear, but sometimes the pain just rears its head out of nowhere.

  12. Advice I plan on passing on to the nephews: if you are going on a by-goodness pukka first date, it means there’s intent to make the relationship last a bit. So, a man is at that point obligated to make a good first impression.
    That means haircut, shower, shave, teeth brushed (sadly, a lot of younger males don’t always follows those points), dress appropriately (default to a bit more formal), and expect to meet with the lady’s family. And that means handshakes, “sir” and “ma’am”, opening the doors, complements, and letting her talk.

  13. I donated my “funeral suit” to charity a few months back. I don’t care if I have to buy another, I only wore it three times. There are very few people left in my life close enough to draw me to their funeral. At least, not ones who are likely to pass before MY sorry ass. When I go, I intend to be cremated, and my ashes disposed of according to the wishes of those left behind. My daily work attire is (CLEAN) jeans and pocketed polo shirt, with steel toed boots. I’m a technician, not an engineer, and my badge, contrary to common practice, hangs from a clip at my belt rather than a lanyard around my neck. Guard asked me about it once, almost in a challenging way. “I work with rotating tools and high voltages. This is a safety measure.” At home, I wear jeans and a shirt, either tee or collared, but not dressy. I’m never going to be a fashion plate, more likely a bad example. My lifestyle isn’t fancy, and if I ever did need to dress ritzy I could. It would necessitate a trip to a clothier’s, but I do still retain some modicum of decorum and manners. I don’t need to dress up, and prefer comfort and utility. But that’s just me, and you don’t want to be me. I’m way too screwed up.

  14. Around here, used to be the best female attractant was to wear your company issued nomex coveralls. See, a guy in suit could be a fake, but the guy with nomex really did have a job! Women used to love guys with jobs. That’s how I caught mine 22 years ago.

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